Chapter

Context: Settling the New World

Harlan Lane, Richard C. Pillard and Ulf Hedberg

in The People of the Eye

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199759293
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199863372 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199759293.003.0004

Series: Perspectives on Deafness

Context: Settling the New World

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Three Deaf enclaves that flourished in the nineteenth century stand out in an analysis of how the Deaf-World was founded in New England: Henniker, New Hampshire, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and southern Maine. Deaf ancestry in America has its roots in the English settlers of the seventeenth century. What the settlers found and created together is the backdrop for a consideration of the individual Deaf families. The homogeneity of the small population of settlers made it more likely that marriages would be among people with similar genetic backgrounds, favoring the birth of Deaf children. Nearly everyone was engaged in farming in the early years of the new republic. Each farmer was highly dependent on his neighbors, and this no doubt reinforced the importance for Deaf people of finding one another and of forming small enclaves. The practice of marrying kin yielded more opportunities for children to be hereditarily Deaf.

Keywords: Deaf ancestry; English settlers; Deaf marriage; Lives of the settlers; farming

Chapter.  3789 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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